Summer Horse | Art Elements Challenge

The team at Art Elements has recently started hosting themed monthly challenges, which involve a reveal and blog hop at the end of the month. The theme for April is Horses, picked by Jenny, with the reveal being hosted by Cathy.

At first, I thought “Seahorse!” These creatures have inspired so many artsy pieces (especially jewelry.) Thinking on and off about seahorse projects, I slowly realized I wanted to stretch myself and go for the land-horse, which I find more challenging.

I didn’t delay starting the project as much as I did last month, but it definitely began in the later half of the month. 🙂 My aim was to create a horse head accessory for a tote bag that my sis and I plan to make – the horse would be made of polymer clay, and have a beaded mane. I also wanted to check off at least one item from my make-nine list for the year, and I chose alcohol inks.

Summer Horse - Beaded Polymer Clay Charm

The colors in the project are inspired by the summer here, with blue added in since it’s also been raining recently! That’s some weird and wonderful weather. 🙂

The Claying

I drew an outline of a horse head using rough strokes, traced it multiple times with my pencil, and pressed a sheet of white-with-translucent clay on it to transfer some of the outline onto the clay. On the other side of the sheet, I used a texture sheet to add a pattern I liked. I then cut out the figure roughly following the pencil outline.

Now came the trials with alcohol inks. I added drops of different inks over the textured clay, prodding them so they mix well at the boundaries. When I was satisfied with how the colors looked, I let the ink dry a bit, and dabbed a paper towel spritzed with rubbing alcohol to wipe away some of the ink on the raised surfaces. After the ink dried fully, I applied Perfect Pearls on the raised surfaces.

I added one more clay layer with a simple-textured back to strengthen the piece, and added some color to the back and the edges with chalks. To help with my beading of the mane later, I poked holes 0.3cm apart all along the top of the neck.

Baking time! (I already liked how it looked when it came out of the oven; the Perfect Pearls, however, seemed to have dulled a bit.)

The beading

I added beaded fringes, each 15-18 seed beads long, one fringe per hole, ensuring that overall color theme of each fringe matches the color of the base clay in that area. As I made the fringes, I began attaching them to one another to keep them in place. To steady the top of the fringes, I made a 1-row modified brick stitch edge behind them, along the top edge of the neck.

This is one of those rare times that a project turned out better than I’d hoped for – I totally love this piece! Challenge accomplished, as far as I’m concerned. 🙂

My sis and I have not yet taken a call on exactly how we’ll use this – it’ll either be a short swinging charm, or held in place on the bag. Meanwhile, I feel a little more confident about alcohol inks now, and I can’t wait to use them more!


If you’re curious to see what the AE team and the other guests have made for this challenge, go have a peek at their blogs! (Some guests don’t have blogs, so AE team member Laney has posted their creations on her blog.)

Guests:    Alysen    •    Anita (that’s me!)    •    Beth    •    Catherine    •    Jill    •    Paulette    •    Raven    •    Sarajo    •    Tammy

AE Team:    Caroline    •    Claire    •    Jen    •    Laney    •    Lesley    •    Marsha    •    Niky    •    Sue

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38 thoughts on “Summer Horse | Art Elements Challenge

  1. I LOVE it when things turn out better than expected. It seems like that hardly ever happens 😉 It’s a really beautiful and textured piece. The colors are amazing and everything is so cohesive and begging to be touched, I just love it. Fantastic job! Thanks for participating in the challenge this month! Hopefully you will consider the May challenge as well, which will be revealed May 1.

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    • Thank you, Jen! Yes, I love the textures in this one, and I’m so glad the beadwork is secure because I keep running my fingers along the mane, lol!
      And I’d love to participate next month, and the months after! 🙂

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    • Thank you, Alysen! It’s amazing how versatile clay can be. And I loved working with the inks – makes me wonder why it took me so long to start. 🙂

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  2. I absolutely LOVE this horse! The colors, textures and style of this piece is just perfect. I love how you added the beaded mane and your color choice of beads is stunning with the colors of the alcohol inks. The inks really worked well. I can’t wait to see the finished tote.

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  3. Wow – I love all the elements you have incorporated into the horse head! I just love the beaded work for the mane and the colors are amazing. I can’t wait to see how you incorporate the horse into tote!

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  4. I love your horse. It’s a beauty. I’ve never used inks. You do some the prettiest ink, blending, textures and bead working mix media combo that I’ve ever seen. Your horse will be a gorgeous accessory wherever you decide to use it.

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